Special Report

international scale. We just need to do our homework and put in a little extra effort. Our biggest bug bear here at Upstream HQ is the individual poly bag! Surely this has got to be at the top of all consumersʼ annoyance lists!

Do we really need them? If you are a manufacturer and individually bagging products is this really necessary? They will usually have to go through an industrial finishing process before they can to the consumer where the chances of getting dirty are surely higher than in a properly packed box.

Likewise if you are individually bagging garments post production, do your customers really need this? Is it essential for the safe transportation of the finished product or could you think of a better way using cardboard or similar to package your products in? Sometimes itʼs easier to just say ʻwell thatʼs how we have always done itʼ but why not think outside the box and try to break the single use plastic cycle by thinking of your own solution? You never know it may be the best sales decision you have ever made!

Those are two of the simplest decisions to make in reducing single use plastics but the next biggest area is recycling products. Are you buying in new packaging materials just to repack products for a better appearance to your customer? Iʼm sure if consumers knew you had reused an old box to save producing a new one they would be more

than happy and most probably enjoy the cost saving you could pass onto them for the privilege, so tape up those old boxes, put some nice self-adhesive paper logos on with a note explaining your decision to reuse and see how your customers respond. The worst offenders repackage products in new cardboard boxes that cannot even be reused, there is no excuse for this in our eyes.

The same goes for general consumables in the workshop such as packaging tape and package fillers. Recyclable tapes are now widely available and not only look great but can also be recycled with the boxes that they seal. The same goes for packaging fillers; maize pellets are a simple replacement for non-recyclable fillers and dissolve with water.

Get on board

Aside from the plastic and reuse side we would encourage you to bring more finishing processes in house, if you are

already an embroiderer then why not bring in a DTG printer and vice versa. You can cut the use of couriers between processes, reduce lead times and provide an enhanced service to your customers while reducing your carbon footprint. You could even calculate how much carbon you have saved in a year by reducing the amount of miles products have travelled before they reach your customers and again use it as a marketing tool. We have all got to get on board with the changes in the wider world and what our consumers are demanding. Some of us will be dragged kicking and screaming into a lower impact world and some of us will embrace the positive changes that are available to us and stay on top of the tough challenges in business to come. I for one have a feeling which side might just end up doing ok and they might just find themselves feeling pretty good about it at the same time.

screaming into a lower impact world and some of us will embrace the positive changes that are available to us and stay on top of the tough challenges in business to come.

–Zach Pillinger, director, Upstream Printing Some of us will be dragged kicking and

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